The battle between Virgin Media and Sky for TV supremacy has taken an interesting turn. Last week, Sky unveiled its new Sky Glass product – a range of custom-designed 4K TVs that offer the Sky Q experience streamed over the internet without the need for a satellite dish.
Sky Glass has Disney+, Prime Video, Netflix and other streaming apps in its 43-, 55- or 65-inch screen. Sky offers five different colour schemes for the QLED TV, which is only available for pre-registration ahead of its launch on October 18. So, where does that leave Virgin Media?
Well, Virgin Media doesn’t require a satellite dish to be drilled into the side of your house …so in some respects Sky is catching-up with its arch-nemesis. However, Sky Glass does include a number of features you won’t find in Virgin Media’s portfolio – like hands-free voice control.
Don’t be too envious yet as Virgin Media has confirmed plans to launch at least one more exciting product this year. The broadband and telly firm has already confirmed that it will be launch an IPTV service sometime before the fireworks ring in 2022.
IPTV stands for internet protocol television, and as the name suggests is TV content that’s delivered over an internet signal, like Sky’s NOW service (formerly known as NOW TV) and Sky Glass. And after years of NOW being the only big player in this market in Blighty Virgin Media is set to muscle in on this territory.
Lutz Schueler, the CEO of the recently formed Virgin Media O2 following the merger between the two firms earlier this year, has confirmed that a new IPTV product from the company is set to debut in 2021.
At a convention in Cambridge Schueler said: “We are almost flat with our TV customer base. We’ll be launching soon our first IPTV offering, targeting more at the younger segment. Maybe it’s the other way around for the younger segment. You start with Netflix, but then you get to the linear content.”
Aside from confirmation that this new telly box is coming soon, details on how Virgin Media’s IPTV offering will work are pretty sparse.
Will Virgin Media offer a similar experience to NOW, with contract-free passes that can be purchased month to month for specific content? Since the company specifically wants to target younger viewers, will this new telly box be a lightweight streaming HDMI dongle – like the successful Google Chromecast and Amazon Fire TV to drop the price? Or will it take the form of an all-in-one TV like we’ve seen from Sky Glass?
Virgin Media is no stranger to launching hardware to boost the experience for its telly customers. It has previously created a vast tablet that allowed customers to take their recordings and live TV streaming around the house with them.
Only time will tell, but those who are jealous of Sky customers’ shiny new gadget might want to hold off ordering until they see what’s next from Virgin Media O2. Express.co.uk will have the latest news as soon as it’s announced, so stay tuned to find out what Virgin Media has up its sleeve.